I know I have to make serious adjustments in the way I organize things in my business after I received the following message from Rich today:
Rich Schefren firstname.lastname@example.org to me
Do you have a system in place for every aspect of your
business? A long time ago, I didn't utilize systems in my
business - I just operated on instinct. When success
sprouted, I eventually had to bring someone else on board
and that's when I realized how I had failed.
I had no way of communicating how things got done around the
office. My new employees couldn't get inside my brain and I
couldn't expect them to instinctively know what to do - yet
I had nothing on paper that explained my processes.
Having systems in place is vital to the performance of your
business. Even if it's just you - you need to have a system
mapped out on how things are accomplished. If you're the
only one in your company, then maybe you don't need it
written down - but at the very least, you should be able to
verbalize it in a step-by-step procedure.
If you can't explain it in concise terms of what happens at
each interval, then you don't really have a system - you
have a way of doing things.
The word "system" implies that you can classify tasks, organize and rank them in order of importance, and assign them to the people you've designated to be in control of each aspect of the business.
Imagine what would happen if you were in a car accident one
day - and hospitalized for a week or more. Who would run
your company for you? Could you explain to someone how to
operate the daily functions of your business? Instead of a
system, would there be chaos in the workplace?
Probably - if you're not prepared.
It's good to have your systems written out and filed so that
whenever someone else is brought on board - or has to take
over - they'll instantly be able to refer to your model of
doing business and follow it precisely.
Mapping out systems for your business can also give you
insight into how things can be accomplished in a better way.
Your goal is to simplify your process so that it's as
effective as it can be.
Don't be afraid to utilize shortcuts if it won't harm the
end result. There's nothing wise about taking the long route
to success. If there's a tool you could invest in that would
shave hours off of your task, then it's worth it. If you're
doing all of your accounting by hand, and you could set up a
software tool to quicken the procedure, then do it.
When you set up your systems - and you'll need one for
almost every aspect of running your business - do it with
hindsight in mind. Play Monday morning quarterback. What
could you have done better, and how can that happen?
Categorize your systems to help you develop and update them
as necessary. For instance, you might have a system for
tracking sales performance, one for marketing, and another
for sourcing new products or ideas.
If you have a "guinea pig", start testing your systems out
on that person to see if it's easy for another individual to
interpret and use. If any portion of your system needs
further clarification, then go into more detail. You might
know what you mean by "launch AdWords campaign," but
someone else may need you to answer the question, "how?"
Systems give your business a framework. You can always add
onto the system, or tear it down and replace it - but it
gives your operation a structure and a foundation to work
You'll always want to update your systems as time passes.
Maybe new technology has been developed that can replace an
outdated approach to doing business. Perhaps you've
discovered someone to outsource a task to so that you can
concentrate your efforts on more profitable ventures.
Whatever the reason, always look for - and be open to - new
ways of structuring your business so that it's a living
system - not one that's too rigid and opposed to change. You
want to maintain a vision for your company and use creative
means to get you there.
Think of yourself as an architect of your company. It's your
job to create a blueprint for your business operations. You
can always pencil in new additions to the company or erase
structures that need to be phased out.
With a system in place, you'll find you can manage your
business more easily and find success in a shorter span of
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